Luis Rubiales resigns as Spanish football chief amid controversy over World Cup kiss
Luis Rubiales has stepped down as the president of the Spanish soccer federation and vice president of UEFA following intense criticism over an unwanted kiss with FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Jennifer Hermoso.
Luis Rubiales has resigned from his positions as President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Vice President of UEFA due to intense criticism stemming from an unwanted kiss with FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Jennifer Hermoso.
Rubiales announced his resignation late on Sunday night, stating, “Today, at 9:30 PM, I have submitted my resignation from the position of President of the RFEF to the Acting President, Mr. Pedro Rocha. I have also informed him that I have taken the same step regarding my position at UEFA so that my role in the Vice Presidency can be replaced.”
He added, “After the quick suspension carried out by FIFA along with the ongoing proceedings against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position. Insisting on remaining in limbo and clinging to it will not contribute to anything positive, neither for the Federation nor for Spanish football.”
Rubiales expressed hope that his departure would enhance Spain’s joint bid with Morocco and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup, saying, “I make this decision after ensuring that my departure will contribute to the stability that will allow both Europe and Africa to remain united in the dream of 2030, which will enable our country to host the world’s biggest event.”
The Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed Rubiales’ resignation from his roles as Chief of the Spanish Football Association and Vice President of UEFA.
The 46-year-old Spaniard had been provisionally suspended by FIFA for 90 days pending a disciplinary investigation. Pedro Rocha has taken on the interim role.
The controversy surrounding Rubiales arose after he planted an unwanted kiss on Jennifer Hermoso following Spain’s victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final on August 20. This incident led to widespread criticism in Spain and beyond.
Rubiales had previously issued an apology and characterized the kiss as “mutual,” a claim disputed by Hermoso, who stated that she did not give consent and felt disrespected.
In response to the controversy, 81 Spanish players, including all 23 World Cup winners, declared that they would not represent the national team as long as Rubiales remained in his position.
Furthermore, World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda also voiced criticism against Rubiales, and his entire coaching staff resigned in protest against the federation president.